Study Guide

Sixteen Candles Summary

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Sixteen Candles Summary

Samantha "Sam" Baker is supposed to be having the best sixteenth birthday ever. But her entire family forgets it. As if! Oh, wrong teen movie. Whatever! Oops, that's also from Clueless. What day is it? October 3rd? Dang, that's still the wrong movie.

Sam goes to school, where she has study hall with her best friend Randy. Sam's filling out a "sex test" on notebook paper, which is how Buzzfeed quizzes were done before the internet. On the quiz, she writes that she would definitely do it with Jake Ryan if she had the chance. (Not to be confused with Tom Clancy's Jack Ryan, played by Chris Pine.)

But Jake Ryan doesn't know Sam even exists…until now. Sam tosses the note to Randy, but Randy, sleeping through class, misses it. The note falls to the floor. Instead of respecting Sam's privacy and returning the secret note to her, Jake reads it and realizes Sam has the hots for him.

On the way home from school, Sam's asked to the dance by a boy known as the Geek. Because he's a geek. The geekiest of geeks. She politely declines: "Go to hell."

At home, Sam's been unceremoniously booted from her bedroom because both sets of grandparents are in town for her older sister Ginny's wedding. Not only did her entire family forget her birthday, but now she has to sleep on the couch. Happy freaking birthday.

Her grandparents have brought with them an exchange student, Long Duk Dong. (Someone told us that a gong sounds every time someone says his name, but we're groaning too loudly at how racist this character portrayal is to hear it.)

The Donger, as he calls himself, accompanies Sam to the school dance later that night. Sam ogles Jake, who's dancing with his hot girlfriend, Caroline. Sam feels very inadequate next to Caroline, like a Raggedy Ann trying to compete with a Barbie doll in a swimsuit competition. Sam doesn't think she has any shot with Jake. She gets even more upset when the only person trying to dance with her is the Geek.

Sam leaves the dance floor to cry by herself in the school's auto shop. Jake, who saw the Geek dancing with Sam, asks him about her, but he won't say why he's interested. (If he's that interested, maybe he should go see how she's doing, hmm?)


The Geek follows Sam to the auto shop, where he listens to her problems. He tries to sleep with her, too, but he also listens to her problems, and he tells her that Jake likes her. Maybe he isn't a total sleazeball after all.

We spoke too soon. The Geek made a bet with his friends that he could have sex with Sam. As proof, he's supposed to bring them her panties. She agrees to lend them to him in exchange for his briefly giving her a shoulder to cry on. Um, you don't wear panties on your shoulder, but okay.

Sam tries to work up the nerve to talk to Jake, but she's too nervous. She has no idea that the Geek is now charging a dollar to boys who want to look at Sam's underwear. Again, the lengths teens would go to in days before the internet…

Jake leaves the dance with Caroline, who's throwing a party at Jake's house while his parents are out of town. The Donger and the Geek attend the drunken bash at Jake's house, while Sam goes home. Jake's furious that Caroline invited over all these people to trash his house, so he tries to call Sam. Remember that her grandparents are spending the night in her room? They think Jake's an obscene caller (they're not far off), and tell him to get lost.

After the party clears out, Jake finds the Geek under a glass table. We've heard of hitting the glass ceiling, but not a glass table. The Geek had been shoved there by some jocks. (Why he couldn't just crawl out, we have no idea.) Jake helps him out from under the table, and the Geek plays matchmaker, telling Jake that Sam likes him. This is how love connections are made. The Geek should get a job hosting The Bachelor.

Jake brokers a deal with the Geek: Sam's underwear in exchange for Jake's girlfriend, Caroline, who's blackout drunk. Um. That's insanely messed up.

The Geek takes the deal and drives Caroline home. And by "drive her home" we mean "have sex with her while she's blacked out." But Caroline says she enjoyed it, and now she's in love with the Geek. Let's just move on.

It's Sam's sister's wedding day. She has her period and she's drugged up on muscle relaxers to ease her cramps. Sam's family apologizes for forgetting her birthday, and Sam gets on her bridesmaid's dress to be in the wedding party. At the wedding, Ginny stumbles down the aisle, slurs her vows, and takes off her slip in the churchyard before getting her dress caught in the limousine door and driving off with her new husband. Classy.

After the wedding, Sam has a special guest—Jake arrives to ask her out. Le swoon. Sam skips the reception and heads to Jake's house instead. He presents her with a birthday cake. We know how many candles are on it. (Hint: it's in the title.) But did he bake it himself? Did he trade any women's undergarments for it? We have no idea.

Jake tells Sam to make a wish, and Sam says, "It already came true." The lean in for the big kiss. Ooh la la. Now what song would be appropriate for the credits… oh right: this one.

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